Driven. Hardworking. Respectful. Unique. Ambitious.

These are the words Katie Eichman uses to describe Sporting Kansas City Academy players. Eichman, the Academy Team Administrator, assists in managing the day to day operations for the staff and players. For her, being a part of the academy is rewarding.

“The best moments are seeing players develop over the years,” Eichman said.

The Sporting Kansas City Academy focuses on the development of its players on and off the pitch. Earlier this month, soccer project joined forces and collaborated with a few members of the Academy’s U19 and U13 squads.

Hopefully shares part of the conversations we had about passion, commitments and hope with U19 and U13 Sporting Kansas City Academy players.

On the left, SKC U19 Academy players stare straight into the camera, on the right, SKC U13 Academy players interact by shaking hands and leaning on one another.

Why do you love soccer?

I love soccer because I’ve been playing it since I was 3 or 4 and I just love the feeling I get when I’m playing it. It feels like I don’t have to worry about anything but soccer. - M. Leeth, U19

I just grew up loving the sport, my whole family has played it so it’s been passed on generation to generation and I just love doing it. It helps me express myself, it’s just what I love doing. - E. Mauriz, U19

I live and breathe soccer. I watch it when it’s on TV, I play it all the time, it’s just what I do. - L. Dean, U13

I love soccer because it is fun, fast and active, and I’m short so I have to be smarter than other kids. - G. Yagmin, U13

What has being apart of an academy team taught you?

The team has taught me that teamwork is the first thing in soccer, and how you are always supposed to help your teammates.- L. Cruz-Ayala, U13

Before I made the Academy, I played a different position than I do now. So I now have had to learn new responsibilities, work harder and use my growth mindset to solve problems on the field that I didn’t have to deal with before. - G. Yagmin, U13

It taught me to respect the coaches a lot more than what other players do sometimes. I think the culture in the academy is very high in us and I really enjoy my team a lot. - B. Betts, U19

Where will soccer take you?

Hopefully I’ll make it to the MLS some year. - B. Betts, U19

I’m going to go to college play soccer and go pro after that. - M. Leeth, U19

Hopefully I’ll become a professional soccer player. It’s been my dream ever since I started kicking the ball. Hopefully with Sporting everything will work out, I want to become professional here. - E. Mauriz, U19

My overall goal is to became a professional soccer player.  - L. Dean, U13

I hope I get play soccer for a long time.  Through high school, college and into the pros. - G. Yagmin, U13

Soccer will help me be a great person in life. It will take me to a professional career. - L. Curz-Ayala, U13

The Sporting Kansas City Academy is working towards being internationally recognized as the premier CONCACAF leader in player development. 

"I see us developing players who will go on to compete in the most respected leagues in the world." Eichman said. 



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